Iowans are being asked to take a few simple actions to protect their septic systems and the state’s water supply. Daniel Olson, an environmental specialist with the Iowa DNR, explains the goal of the state’s first-ever Septic Smart Week.

“The main point is for us not to have the flush-and-forget mentality any more,” Olson says. “Take care of your own wastewater treatment and that system does require maintenance, just like your car would.” Olson says septic systems can vary from place to place, but typically, they’ll need to be pumped out once a year or even as long as every three years.

“Most people in Iowa have a septic tank and a drain field so maybe the maintenance for them is simply going to be periodically pumping out the tank,” Olson says. “If they don’t pump the tank, the solids from the tank will work their way over to the drain field and eventually plug that.” An annual inspection is also wise, which may cost $300, while replacing a septic system can run about $8,000.

(Reporting by  Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)